Perceived Institutional Ambiguity and the Choice of Organizational Form in Social Entrepreneurial Ventures

16 Pages Posted: 12 Dec 2008

See all articles by David M. Townsend

David M. Townsend

North Carolina State University - Poole College of Management

Timothy A. Hart

University of St. Thomas

Date Written: July 1, 2008

Abstract

Social entrepreneurship (SE) is emerging as a common approach to meeting social needs. However, SE founders appear to be organizing under both for-profit and non-profit organizational forms to engage in essentially the same activities. We investigate this lack of consistency regarding the choice of organizational form by examining two possible explanations: a difference in motivational goals among social entrepreneurs or perceived ambiguity regarding trends in core dimensions of the institutional environment. Overall, we argue that founder perceptions of an ambiguous institutional environment are leading to the variance in choice of organizational form for SE ventures. Both theoretical and practical directions for future research are discussed as well.

Keywords: Social Entrepreneurship, Organizational Form, Institutional Theory

Suggested Citation

Townsend, David M. and Hart, Timothy A., Perceived Institutional Ambiguity and the Choice of Organizational Form in Social Entrepreneurial Ventures (July 1, 2008). Entrepreneurship Theory & Practice, Vol. 32, No. 4, pp. 685-700, 2008. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1313848

David M. Townsend (Contact Author)

North Carolina State University - Poole College of Management ( email )

Hillsborough Street
Raleigh, NC 27695-8614
United States

Timothy A. Hart

University of St. Thomas ( email )

1000 LaSalle Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55403
United States

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